There Are Two Sides to Everything
I had a most exasperating and frustrating experience
with the hospital today: But Granny had it much worse. First she was the
victim of an accident and then she was the suffering patient.
She was out shopping early this morning, and was
hardly a few scores of yards from our house when she was knocked down hy
a bicycle. The rider was a reckiess young man who didn't even stop after
the accident, but raced away as though an army was after him. It was a
neighbour who recognized her and came to call me (both of my parents
were out ).
When I heard
the news, my heart jumped up to my mouth. I raced downstairs, two or
three steps at a time and sprinted to the spot. I never ran so fast in
my iife. There I saw a crowd of people. I elbowed my way in, and saw
Granny sitting on the ground leaning against a tree, her face all
swollen and her mouth bleeding. She was holding her left arm with her
right hand. It must be a fracture judging rom the way it hurt her.
Some of the
crowd were concerned and offering help and advice, but most were just
curious onlookers.omeone managed to stop a passing car for us, and the
driver kindly drove us to the nearest hospital. Then our ordeal began.
Naturally I took her to the emergericy room first and
expected immediate attention. But we had to wait for at least ten
minutes before a doctor came over to us. I-Ie just took a brief look at
her and said simply: "Go to the dental department. " "But
doctor, aren't you going to give her a thorough check?" I asked
"Don't worry, her life is not in danger. " Before I could say
anything more , he was already out of sight.
There was nothing for us to do but look for the
dental department which took us a long time because it was on the third
floor. There the dentist told us that we must register first, so I had
to rush all the way down again to the ground floor, there only to find a
long queue. I tried to jump the queue explaining it was an emergency
case, "Go to the emergency room if it's an emergency case ! "
know whether to laugh or to cry. Anyway I stood obediently at the end of
the line and at last when my turn came I was given many forms to fill,
some of which were very detailed and quite unnecessary I thought. After
filling them I found I had to queue up once again to hand them in! By
the time everything was finished and I rushed upstairs, I was happy to
find the dentist had the decency not to wait for me before treating
Granny. That was the first comforting thing after entering the hospital
and I really felt grateful to the dentist. After putting several
stitches to lips and gum, the dentist said "That's all. Now go and
pay your bill. "
"But doctor, her arm hurts. "
"You have to go to the surgical department for
that. It's just opposite. I'll take you there. "
I really like the man. But all the same I had to run
all the way down to the ground floor to register again for the surgical
department. And for all that much trouble the doctor spent less than
five minutes examining Granny and sai: "She'll need an X-ray."
He wrote out a chit and that was that.
The X-ray department was on the ground floor and I
had to help her all the way down. The complications and rigmarole
involved in getting the X-ray done were too complicated and irritating
to describe. The long and short of it was, after we got the X-ray
picture, I had to take Granny all the way up again to the third floor.
After taking a look at it , the doctor said :"No bones broken. I'll
prescribe some pain-killer and antibiotics. "
So it was all the way down again. The complications
in paying the bill and getting the medicine were too silly for words. I
had to queue from window to window-to~get the medicine priced and added
up , to pay the bill ; to get the medicine. . . And if you didn't know
the right order and sequence, which I didn't, it often meant standing in
the wrong queue only to be told to come back again after queuing up at
By the time we got home it was almost one o'clock. We
had spent almost four hours at the hospital, and I made a calculation:
Five minutes with the doctor in the emergency room, half an hour with
the dentist, ten minutes with the surgeon-three
quarters of an hour all told. The rest of the time was spent waiting,
queuing,rushing from place to place. If Granny had had to do all that by
herself, she wouldn't have left the hospital alive, I'm sure.
Dr Ding Ping, a bone specialist in No. 2 People's
Hospital of Anqing in Anhui Province, won a bronze medal at the 37th
International Eureka Fair in Brussels iast year for his invention, a new
bone-setting device. Not only the doctor himself vvas happy and honoured
. his hospital , indeed the whole city felt honoured and happy too. But
who would have thought that his invention not only brought the doctor a
bronze medal , but also plunged him into a heavy debt.
It all started in 1986 when for the whole ycar Dr
Ding spent his every spare minute on his new invention. After another
year's clinical trial use, the device proved to be effective. So in June
last year Dr Ding was informed by the Science Commission of Anhui
Province that this invention had been selected to compete
in the 37th Eureka International Fair.
This was indeed happy news, but Dr Ding's happiness
was marred by the fact that he had to pay 5, 000 yuan for entering his
item for the fair. Where on earth was he to raise such a huge sum? He
applied for aid from the Municipal Science Commission but got turned
down because firstly the Commission thought his irivention was a private
one , the work of an individual and therefore could not be funded by the
public, and secondly the Commission was hard up anyway and could not
afford to pay out such a large sum.
was to be done? At the last moment his hospital came to the rescue :
They agreed to lend Dr Ding 5, 000 yuan, but starting from January this
year, they would deduct 50 yuan from his monthly salary until the debt
was fully repaid.
Dr Ding was grateful and' jumped at the chance. But
he was under no illusion about the predicamentz2 he was plunging himself
into. His salary was only 97 yuan a month. His wife, a school teacher,
only brought home 82 yuan a month. With two daughters at school their
life was not easy as it was. To have 50 yuan deducted monthly from their
meagre income for the next eight years would mean a financial burden
that would surely break the camel's back
Discarding all face problems, Dr Ding started to beg
for alms from all quarters. Mostly he met with rebuffs, but he could not
afford to give up. After a few months of begging from door to door, he
managed to collect 1,400 yuan. Quite a substantial
sum, but he was still 3,600 yuan short.
The news that his invention had won a bronze medal
not only brought some spiritual comfort , but also some material gains.
His hospital decided to award him 500 yuan as a token of recognition for
his brilliant work. But the fact remains that he still had a debt to
pay, now reduced to 3,100 yuan. Again he applied for help from various
municipal departments, but so far without success.
Is Dr Ding and his family going to spend the next
in poverty and misery just because he has invented something useful and
won international recognition?
It's a hospital scene. People are lining up for registration. After
seeing the doetor they come back to line up again for tgeir medicine, Of
course it's a very time-consuming process, because they have to get the
prescriptions priced at one window and pay at. another. Then at the last
window they get their medicine. That means altogether they have to line
up at three different windows just to get their medicine.
To avoid all this trouble, a smart woman works out
the most convenient
way of getting her medicine. She herself stands at the end of the first
line and puts her pram with her baby in it, a toy duck and her own bag
at the end of the other three lines. She has them all strung'together
with the wool yarn with which she's knitting. She believes this will
save her the trouble
of lining up three times.